“Today’s society wants to skip the process. And I hate that” – Tom Izzo
I’ve learned from experience that in today’s world dominated by social media and blog posts it is easy to think that success as a fitness professional is defined by likes, comments and reposts. Everyone is in a rush to be the next Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey or Jim Wendler. They forget though, that these coaches that we idolize didn’t become “influential” because they wrote blogs or articles, they got there though practice and tens of thousands of hours of coaching.
The people who are guiding the direction of today’s fitness profession are coaches that epitomize the grind and the process. Boyle spent years as a strength coach at Boston University while moonlighting as a bartender at night to pay the bills. Cressey has two degrees, a master’s, worked as a collegiate strength coach and researcher, and was a competitive powerlifter. Wendler was also a collegiate strength coach and top-ranked powerlifter and trained at Westside Barbell. Go through any of the fitness professionals that the industry really respects, and you can see that they all put their time simply as a student and coach before becoming the “influential trainer.”
The lessons they learned from years of lifting, coaching, and learning in order to improve both their own, and their client’s training, created the deliberate practice needed to master their craft. Years and years of going through the process formed the principals and ideas that they write about online. They aren’t just sharing quotes they read in a book the night before or their opinion on the “new new thing,” they are sharing lessons learned while going through the process. You can try, but you can’t fake that. The industry is smart enough to know the difference. Their journey through “the process” lead them to where they are today. If you asked them in their 20s what they were trying to become, I am sure they would all answer something along the lines of a “great coach” who makes their clients or teams better, not a “great writer” or “influential fitness professional.”
It is important to remember that you can’t rush the process and will your way to influence. Experience and deliberate practice will always be the timeless tools that create great coaches, nothing else. I am not saying to avoid social media and blog posting…its 2016 and that’s part of growing a business. The vast number of coaches willing to share with each other is what makes our industry great and the internet is a wonderful medium that has grown our field ten-fold, but there is a difference between sharing what you have learned and telling people how much you know so early on in your career. As Macklemore put it, "the greats weren't great because at birth they could paint, the greats were great because they paint a lot." Keep painting and love the process. You’ll be better off for it.